Some days there is nothing quite as nice as cuddling up with a warm blanket, a good movie and a big bowl of freshly made popcorn! I'm not talking about the kind you pop in the microwave with the fake butter substance, no. But, I am talking about good old fashioned cook-on-the-stovetop popcorn. The kind that pops up light and fluffy, begging for a drizzle of real melted butter and perhaps a sprinkle of vanilla fleur de sel.
When I think of raspberries, I think of my in-laws. In the early to late fall, there is a beautiful "u-pick" raspberry farm close to their home that has the most delectable raspberries known to man. My mother-in-law introduced me to them a few years ago on one of our visits back home. Picture a long winding drive, a couple of dogs greeting you with excited barks and a middle-aged woman smiling as she tends to her stand. The stand is stocked full of treasures such as homemade breads, jams and the most exquisite raspberry flower honey I have ever tasted. She greets you with a smile and a basket to collect the berries, points you in the direction of the most plentiful bushes and sends you on your way. Once you arrive at the raspberry bushes, you notice how peaceful it is and you begin to collect the sweet red berries. Most of the berries make it into the basket, but a few are so beautiful and ripe, they beg to be eaten right then!
A few weeks ago, I posted a homemade Kahlua recipe that was perfect for gift giving! I know that you have put aside a small amount for yourself, so I have created a special drink just for you. So, sit down, wrap a few presents and pour yourself a glass of deliciousness!
We recently hosted a holiday cocktail party with a few family members, co-workers and neighbors. Hosting and welcoming friends into my home is one of the greatest joys in my life. I enjoy providing delicious food, lively conversation and a beautiful atmosphere which I have been doing for many years. Over the years, I have learned what works and what does not. With many successes and a few colossal failures, my guests seem pleased and return year after year.
In our family, holiday tradition dictates that Santa is left a plate of cookies and milk on Christmas Eve. As parents, we drink half of the glass of milk and take a bite out of a cookie and place it back on the plate. For many children, part of the wonder of Christmas is seeing the half eaten treat that they left for Santa and believing that he was there.
You have spent all day shopping for the perfect gifts to give to love ones and family. Upon arriving at home you have to create a perfect dinner for your guests, make the house presentable and, oh yes, you need to end your perfect dinner with a delectable dessert!
Certain foods evoke memories of holidays; peeps for Easter, candy corn for Halloween and, of course, candy canes for Christmas. Each year, as Christmas draws near, my son asks to make peppermint bark; a tradition I am more than happy to continue with him. I always encourage parents to cook and bake with their children, and peppermint bark is an easy recipe to create with just about any age child.
Many of you may not know that the Farmers Market is a constant source of inspiration in my recipes and cooking. Many culinary trends begin within the famers market stalls. I often can be found wandering the market in search of photo ops and new trends. Each week I gather some interesting produce and of course an arm load of fresh flowers for the holiday table. These items often include pink lemons, baby squash, truffle oil, some beautiful aged balsamic vinegar and of course Hawaiian purple sweet potatoes.
My husband is not a dessert fan, which always bewilders friends and acquaintances when they learn I am a pastry chef. He would happily eat pizza in place of dessert any day. Me, on the other hand, I could live on sweets and vegetables. One of the few desserts that he loves is chocolate cream pie; I can see the allure that it has for him. Rich creamy chocolate mousse, sweet flaky pie dough topped with sweet whipped cream. What a perfect dessert!
There are two different variations of macaroons; French and American. American macaroons are usually coconut based, sometimes dipped in chocolate and are delicious. French macarons are light and crunchy but with a soft interior. They can be filled with just about any flavor of buttercream you can create.